1. Offensive Line
It’s no secret that the New York Giants had arguably the worst offensive line in football this past season, not to mention a running game at the bottom of the league in most statistical categories. Their 88 yards per game on the ground led them to a ranking of 29 and their six rushing touchdowns on the season was by far the worst by any team in the league. Tackle Ereck Flowers led the league in holding penalties, and never seemed to get comfortable in any game. Combine that with the fact that this was an injury-plagued unit, and it’s no surprise that they struggled with consistency all year. On the other hand, they were one of the best pass-blocking teams in the NFL, letting up the third-least sacks in the league with 22. I expect the Giants to focus on drafting a few offensive linemen in a few months since their defense and their skill positions on offense are pretty good as they are.
2. Running back
Although I liked what I saw from Paul Perkins towards the end of the year, I think it wouldn’t be a terrible idea for the Giants to draft a running back. Perkins is a shifty player with great agility and speed, but it’s unclear how high his ceiling with such a poor offensive line blocking for him. Rashad Jennings can’t be relied on either, except for a few bruising runs inside an opposing team’s five or 10-yard line. The 2017 running back draft class is promising, with Florida State Seminoles Dalvin Cook, LSU Tigers Leonard Fournette, Stanford Cardinal Christian McCaffrey and Texas Longhorns D'Onta Foreman leading a top-heavy group of backs. It is unlikely that Cook and Fournette go undrafted within the first 10 to 15 picks, but McCaffrey and Foreman will most likely be there when thee Giants pick at 23. It might not be a bad idea to pick a back that is talented enough to start in Week 1 and take some pressure off of Eli Manning and the Giant’s passing game.
3. Defensive end
Although the Giant defense experience a full-blown renaissance of sorts in 2016, questions remain going into 2017. The biggest question mark has to be Jason Pierre-Paul, who will be a free agent in March and has said that he wants an $85 million contract. With Olivier Vernon already getting paid that much, it’s unlikely that Jerry Reese and the rest of the front office will pony up that much money for an older guy who essentially plays with one hand. Yes, he had a great bounce-back season and was in the running for comeback player of the year with seven sacks before his season-ending injury, but his pension for injury and the fact that the Giants are fairly deep on the defensive line works against Pierre-Paul. Romeo Okwara filled in for the star defensive end and proved that he had what it takes to make an impact in the NFL, and with Kerry Wynn backing him up, it really is a nice tandem on the outside for the Giants with Vernon, Okwara and Wynn. They could also go to the draft for a defensive end, and have proven time and time again that they aren’t afraid to do so. Last year’s draft was the first one in six years where the Giants didn’t draft any defensive linemen, and with a nice crop of players this year that includes Michigan’s Taco Charlton, Stanford’s Solomon Thomas, Tennessee’s Derek Barnett and Auburn’s Carl Lawson, the Giants may be tempted to draft a potential replacement for Pierre-Paul and have the rookie battle with Okwara for a spot during training camp.